The paragraph below is an email we received from a concerned citizen.
“Quit stalling and wasting time plus money by beating around the bush.. Get to the critical subjects of importance. Bring out all the good and bad features about Bremner, Cambrian and Colchester residential areas chosen by the planning department and council since the 2007 MDP. The council keeps plowing the same ground over and over and over. Don’t you think enough tax payer dollars have been spent already on Colchester? Do you not think previous councils had any ability to plan the expansion of Sherwood Park. Bring the facts out and it will validate what has happened for the last ten years. Bremner is the only logical location for residential development due to all the positive features and the least cost. People with an agenda just keep trying to swing things their way and waste a lot of money and time. Too many cooks spoil the soup.”
Thank you for showing an interest in our website and for the comments contained in your email. Perhaps it would be best to examine each of the points which you raised individually;
1. “Quit stalling and wasting time plus money by beating around the bush.. “
-Given the circumstances, Council took the only action available to them. If they were to serve the best interests of county tax payers, the best interests of the future of Agriculture in the County and the best interests of responsible urban growth, it was incumbent upon them to complete the approved process of objectively comparing identified urban growth nodes.
2. “Get to the critical subjects of importance. Bring out all the good and bad features about Bremner, Cambrian and Colchester residential areas chosen by the Planning Department and Council since the 2007 MDP.”
– The present Council has done just that. The best way to “bring out the good and the bad features” of each area is to complete the Growth Management Strategy for Colchester and compare it with that of Bremner. In case you are not aware, the good and bad (pros and cons) for each of the four areas (nodes) studied by the Stantec consultants, they are contained in the Report to Council – June 27, 2006 – “Municipal Development Plan Phase III. There was a fourth node which you do not mention. It was an area on the North side of Wye Road from Sherwood Park to Ardrossan. A new positive factor has been recently identified for the Colchester Area with the announcement of the LRT line to Millwoods. This will provide easy access for Colchester, Sherwood Park and other residents in the southern part of the County, to Edmonton for work, university, etc. It is not inconceivable that in the future Strathcona County could construct a line from the Sherwood Park/Colchester area to connect at the Millwoods LRT station.
3. “The Council keeps plowing the same ground over and over and over. Don’t you think enough taxpayer dollars have already been spent on Colchester?”
Previous Councils chose not to accept the findings and recommendations of two previous studies – Urban Systems (2001) and Stantec (2003) nor the recommendations of the County Agriculture and Planning Department staffs, when they approved the Bremner Urban Growth Node. This is where the million plus dollars of taxpayer money has been unnecessarily wasted. Now, by approving the hiring of and independent consultant to update the 2001 & 2003 Colchester findings for comparative purposes, the present Council will ensure that they have current and accurate information as they make their decision.
4. “Do you not think previous Councils had any ability to plan the expansion of Sherwood Park?”
The previous Councils most certainly had the opportunity to properly plan the expansion of Sherwood Park but against the advice of their consultants & staff, they chose to ignore many of the clauses in the County’s “Strategic Plan” – a major one being to maintain and enhance prime Agricultural land – and approved the Bremner Growth Management Strategy. In the Bremner Request for Proposals – document RFP # 13.0553, page 7 paragraph 4 they state: The Sherwood Park boundary cannot be expanded due to the desire of the community to limit outward traditional residential sprawl beyond the existing boundary …” Where this misinformation came from is unknown because – at no time has a County Council conducted a survey of the residents of Sherwood Park asking if they wished to expand its boundaries. . The two previous Consultants’ studies make no mention of such an impediment. Unfortunately the consultant chosen to conduct the recently completed Bremner Growth Management Study, would have been mislead by such information.
5. Bring the facts out and it will validate what has happened for the past ten years.
The facts will be ‘brought out” once the Colchester Growth Management Study is complete.
6. Bremner is the only logical location for residential development due to all the positive features and the least cost?
You are encouraged to read the MDP Phase III document that was before County Council on June 26, 2006 giving particular note to Pages 17 through 28 which details the Pros and Cons for all four nodes as well as the costs of development. The following is the concluding statement, taken from the Stantec Fiscal Analysis document:
“Based on the order of magnitude findings from the fiscal impact analysis, Growth Area 1 (Colchester), was ranked #1 in terms of having the least fiscal impact on the County.”
7. “People with an agenda just keep trying to swing things their way and waste a lot of money and time. Too many cooks spoil the soup.”
“Responsible Growth for Strathcona County” is made up of “people” from both the Rural and Urban areas of Strathcona County. By clicking on “About Us” on our Home Page you will be able to learn more about who we are as well as our goals and objectives. As for the assertion that “too many cooks spoil the soup,” People whose agenda would place private profits from urban development on Prime Agricultural lands ahead of already identified, better available options at less costs to taxpayers – they would be the soup spoilers!